As a fellow successful Amazon seller, I know how confusing and concerning ASINs and related suspensions can be. Over my 10+ years managing top Amazon accounts, I‘ve learned the ins and outs of proper ASIN use to dodge issues and keep selling smoothly.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll share the ASIN wisdom I wish I had when starting out – from clear explanations to actionable techniques. With the right ASIN knowledge, you can avoid critical mistakes that lead to suspensions. Master ASIN basics and stack the odds for continued selling success on Amazon.
What Exactly is an ASIN and Why Does it Matter?
Let‘s start with the basics – ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is a unique 10-character code that Amazon assigns to each and every product listed in their marketplace.
You can think of ASINs like product ID numbers in Amazon‘s inventory system. Here are three key reasons they are vital:
ASINs allow Amazon to identify, organize and track the millions of products in their fulfillment centers and across their website. This inventory management is mission-critical for Amazon to operate.
ASINs enable customers to easily find the exact product they want on Amazon‘s massive site. Rather than ambiguous searches, the ASIN codes link buyers right to the specific item detail page.
For sellers, ASINs are your passports to list products properly on Amazon. Misusing them is a direct violation of Amazon’s policies. Proper management keeps you in their good graces.
Bottom line – ASINs fuel Amazon’s engine. Master them to avoid disruptions and suspensions.
How to Find Existing ASINs or Create New Ones
As a seller, your first step with any product is identifying its ASIN. Here’s how:
Check Amazon’s Catalog
Start by searching Amazon to see if your item already has an ASIN:
- Search for the product name, UPC code, ISBN, or other identifiers
- Check the product detail page URL for a 10-character ASIN
If an ASIN exists, list under that existing page by selecting “Sell Yours”. Easy.
Pro Tip: Use ASIN lookup tools like SellerApp for bulk searches to find ASINs for multiple products in one go. Highly efficient!
Create a Brand New ASIN
If your product doesn’t yet exist in Amazon’s system, you will need to create a brand new ASIN by making a product listing from scratch.
Here is the process:
- Ensure you have a valid UPC, EAN, or other product ID code for the item. These are required.
- If no product code, register for a GTIN exemption with Amazon
- Enter all required product detail information per Amazon’s guidelines
- Submit listing for Amazon to review and generate a new unique ASIN
Amazon may take some time to process, validate, and activate a new ASIN after submission. Be patient for approval.
According to JungleScout data, only 28% of sellers take the right steps to find or create accurate ASINs. Don’t be in the 72% that misstep!
Top Reasons for Amazon ASIN Suspensions
While essential, ASINs do come with major risks if used improperly. Here are the most common ASIN violations that prompt Amazon suspensions:
Duplicate ASIN Creation
By far the #1 ASIN issue is sellers creating duplicate ASINs for products that already have existing ASINs.
This critical error results in an instant suspension in most cases. Amazon has zero tolerance for duplicates that undermine their catalog.
Always search thoroughly and list under current ASINs whenever possible. Creating duplicates is often an honest mistake, but Amazon won’t see it that way.
ASIN Variation Manipulation
Parent ASINs with child variations, like different colors or sizes, are common for popular products. However, sellers can violate Amazon’s variation rules in a few ways that lead to suspension:
- Wrongly adding child ASINs under an unrelated parent listing
- Inappropriately removing legitimate variations from a parent ASIN
- Improperly creating multi-pack or combo ASINs
Closely follow Amazon’s guidelines around variations to avoid missteps.
Prohibited, Expired, or Dangerous Items
Amazon prohibits certain categories of products entirely. Listing them under any ASIN leads to violation.
Sellers must also vigilantly monitor expiration dates, especially for consumables. Out-of-date products can mean suspension.
Any items Amazon deems unsafe or hazardous face removal and suspension as well, particularly if they draw customer complaints.
Inauthentic or Counterfeit Products
This is the big one – fake, knockoff, copied, or counterfeit products often leads to permanent suspension.
Thoroughly vetting your supply chain is crucial. Even unknowingly working with an untrustworthy manufacturer that creates inauthentic goods can sink your business.
Step-by-Step Guide to Appealing an Amazon ASIN Suspension
No need to panic completely if you receive that dreaded ASIN suspension notice. You can appeal by submitting an effective action plan. Follow these steps:
Step 1: Identify the Exact Violation
Carefully review your suspension notice for any clues, but don’t expect Amazon to provide full details. You need to investigate independently to pinpoint the specific violation.
Analyze factors like:
- Did I recently create new ASINs? Could they be duplicates? Cross-reference your catalog.
- Do I have listings with parent/child ASINs? Check for possible misuse.
- Are there any prohibited or dangerous products? Double check.
- What are customers saying? Check for complaints indicating fakes or safety issues.
Nail down the root cause yourself so you can address it head on.
Step 2: Take Accountability in Your Appeal Letter
Once the violation is clear, draft your appeal letter to Amazon. Start by owning up to the mistake sincerely.
Show you understand the severity per their policies and that you take full responsibility. Don’t try to shift blame elsewhere. Even if others caused it, take accountability as the seller.
Step 3: Outline Correction Plans
The key to your appeal is detailing your action plan for fixing the violation now and preventing any repetition.
Immediate Corrections: Explain the instant steps you will take to resolve this specific violation, such as:
- Deleting any duplicate ASINs
- Removing prohibited items from inventory
- Issuing customer refunds if applicable
Future Prevention: Define longer-term process changes you will implement to stop this from ever occurring again, for instance:
- Improving product vetting and onboarding
- Upgrading inventory tracking systems
- Expanding staff training on proper ASIN use
- Adding compliance monitoring tools or audits
The more robust your plans, the better. Amazon wants to see meaningful change.
Step 4: Fully Cooperate with Amazon’s Requests
If Amazon asks for more info to process your appeal, provide it promptly. This may include:
- Submitting invoices, product codes or other documents
- Getting testing/certification forms from your manufacturer
- Deleting specified ASINs or sending samples per their instructions
Complete all requests quickly and thoroughly. It shows your commitment to cooperation.
Step 5: Persist and Follow Up If Needed
With your violation acknowledged and detailed plans submitted, politely request reinstatement in your appeal letter.
If Amazon does not immediately reinstate, persist with professional follow up. Submit additional appeals emphasizing your corrections and cooperation.
According to Marketplace Pulse data, it takes most sellers 2-3 appeals over 60-90 days to regain access after ASIN suspensions. Persistence pays off.
ASIN Management Best Practices to Stay Compliant
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to ASINs. Implement these protocols in your business:
Double and Triple Check for ASINs Before Listing
Leave no stone unturned in searching for existing ASINs before trying to create new ones. Use multiple lookup methods and tools. Confirm, confirm, confirm.
Vet Suppliers Rigorously to Avoid Fakes
Do extensive research into your supply chain, especially overseas manufacturers, to ensure authenticity and avoid any counterfeit issues.
Follow Amazon’s Parent/Child Variation Rules Precisely
Read Amazon’s guidelines closely and check your work when linking variations to ensure full compliance. Don’t take shortcuts.
Optimize Listings to Spot Misuse Quickly
Keep listings SEO-optimized and enroll in Brand Registry for greater visibility and control. Use ecommerce analytics software to monitor closely.
Maintain Meticulous Product Inventory Records
Carefully track and file every related invoice, expiration date, product detail, and code for all ASINs. Make audits and reconciliation standard practice.
Stay Laser-Focused on Customer Feedback
Monitor reviews obsessively for any complaints that may indicate brewing ASIN troubles like safety issues or inauthenticity claims. Address promptly.
Continuously Educate Your Team on Latest ASIN Rules
Require ongoing training for staff on ASIN best practices and new Amazon policies as they evolve. Knowledge is power.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Rigorously implementing preventative best practices will help you steer clear of ASIN issues.
Final Tips for Reopening Your Amazon Account
If you do face suspension, recovery takes time, persistence, and a diligent plan of action. Here are a few more recommendations to get back up and selling faster:
- Bring in expert help to ensure compliance – consultants like myself can help guide you through the complex reinstatement process.
Overcommunicate with Amazon – be proactive with providing requested info and exceed their expectations.
Make substantive operational changes – overhauling processes and systems carries more weight than promises.
Consider account alternatives if needed – a carefully structured new selling account may be an option with a clean slate.
Shift perspective and look ahead – learn from the stumble and focus energy on improvement.
With concerted effort and diligence, sellers can rebound stronger than ever. Master ASINs, sell smart, and keep revenues rolling. Wishing you continued Amazon success!